Caramelised Onion, Bacon and Mushroom Quiche

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Quiches are one of those cafe foods with exorbitantly high prices for extremely small slices. But people still buy them because it seems impossible to make it at home. Or at least, it involves a lot of effort. I always thought it impossible to make quiche in my kitchen but one day, my hunger got the better of me. I figured nothing was too difficult for Claudia. I made it and it turned out beautiful.

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So here I am to break down the whole process of quiche-making for you, from one beginner to another 🙂

The shortcrust pastry 

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Tip #1: Never use your hands to rub the butter into the flour.
If you’re living in a hot and sunny place like Singapore, chances are, your butter is going to melt in your hands and you won’t get the flaky texture of the pastry. The flakiness comes about because the butter is layered in between the flour. So use a food processor, if you have one, or even better, a pastry cutter. The aim is to get butter chunks of different sizes, coated in flour. So don’t pulse the butter and flour for too long in the food processor either.

Tip #2: All ingredients and equipment should be cold.
As mentioned above, you don’t want things to start melting. So like whipping the perfect cream, fridge all your ingredients and equipment until you use them, so that everything is nice and cold.

Tip #3: Know your dough.
If you feel that your dough is a bit wet and still sticking onto your hands, be brave and add more flour while kneading it. Dough that is too wet will not give you a flaky crust.

Tip #4: Fridge the dough and the tart adequately.
This allows the gluten to relax and the butter to firm up.

Tip #5: Cling wrap and flour are your friends.
Rolling out the dough always scared the shit out of me. Especially when I remember the countless of times that I have failed. But I have found a way to make the task less daunting. Generously flour your work surface, then place the ball of dough on top while leaving the cling wrap above the dough. Roll on top of the cling wrap so that the dough would not stick to the rolling pin. When transferring the dough to the tin, wrap the dough loosely around the rolling pin with the cling wrap still on. Tadah! I’m sorry I don’t have pictures for each step, I’ll try to take some the next time I make shortcrust pastry again.

The filling

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Tip #1: Start classic
So far, I’ve tried two classic variations – (i) bacon and leek (ii) caramelised onions, bacon and mushrooms, and they both taste amazing. Do a simple google search to find out the classic combinations for quiche so that your first taste won’t be a disappointment. Next up for me is smoked salmon, dill and goat cheese 🙂

Tip #2: Then go crazy
Once you get comfortable with quiche-making, it’s time to go crazy and creative! 🙂

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Ingredients
shortcrust pastry
225g plain flour
150g cold cubed butter
1 medium sized egg

quiche filling
250ml milk
250ml whipping cream
4 eggs
150g grated cheddar cheese
5 yellow onions, caramelised
6 button mushrooms, quartered
150g diced bacon

Directions
1. Fridge the food processor, plain flour, butter, egg until you need to use it.
2. In the food processor, blitz the plain flour and butter.
3. Pour everything out, make a well, and crack the egg in the well.
4. Stir the mixture with a butter knife until the dough just comes together
5. Lightly knead with hands.
6. Cling wrap the dough and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
7. After 30 minutes, roll out the dough onto a 9 inch tart tin. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
8. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
9. Using a fork, poke the base of the tart to prevent the tart from rising upwards while baking.
10. (Putting baking beans on the tart is optional) Place the tart in the oven and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
11. In a pan, fry the bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon.
12. In the same pan, sauté the mushrooms.
13. Whisk the milk, whipping cream and eggs with salt and pepper.
14. In a pre-baked tart, smear caramelised onions on the bottom of the tart.
15. Scatter the bacon and mushrooms all over.
16. Sprinkle the grated cheese over, before pouring in the milk-cream-egg mixture.
17. Place in oven, pre-heated at 160 degrees and bake for 45 minutes until it is golden and filling is set

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Chicken Paprikash

The holidays seem ten million years ago but it was only 4 months ago that I returned from my epic Eastern Europe adventure, where I tried loads of cuisines and visited beautiful places. I got so inspired by the hipster food scene that I am dreaming of  setting up my own hummus bar and open face sandwich shop hahahahaha.

My favourite place was definitely Budapest, with pretty grand buildings and a hip culture.

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Except they had really lousy ice cream. Ice cream so bad that we just threw it away unfinished because it wastes calories. Anyway, Hungary has more good things going for it than bad. Hungary is famous for its Paprika, something that I didn’t know until I wandered around the local market and saw every shop selling Paprika. I knew I had to buy a few packs back home because Hungarian Paprika is definitely a class above the usual paprika. It has a sweet, nutty and smoky aroma to it, making it so good that it can be the star of a dish. Like Chicken Paprikash.

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Chicken Paprikash is basically chicken in paprika sauce. It is a Hungarian classic that I tried once at a Hungarian restaurant. I mopped up all the sauce but left the Spatzle untouched (one of the few things that I dislike), and happily made a mental note to try cooking it in Singapore. It didn’t seem that difficult to replicate.

And it isn’t!

The hardest part of this dish is probably procuring that treasured Hungarian paprika. It’s found on Amazon but I haven’t come across it in actual shops in Singapore. So that’s a bit tricky.

Other than that, all you need is time and patience as the wonderful flavours of paprika develop in that pot.

Ingredients
4 chicken thighs
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, finely sliced
15g of Hungarian paprika
1 cup of chicken broth
1/2 cup greek yogurt

Directions
1. Heat vegetable oil in a pan, fry the chicken thighs skin side down, in one layer, without moving it until deep golden brown, about 8 minutes.
2. Flip the chicken over and fry until the second side is lightly browned, about 2 minutes.
3. Remove the chicken from the pan, throwing away most of the oil but leaving enough to cook the onions, about 1 tablespoon.
4. Fry the onions until soft and translucent.
5. Add in the red bell pepper and fry until soft.
6. Add in the paprika, stir until nutty and fragrant, about 1 minute.
7. Pour the chicken broth into the pan.
8. Nestle the chicken into the pan in a single layer, making sure that all the chicken is covered by the broth.
9. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cook for 30 minutes, until the chicken is tender and pulls easily from the bone.
10. Serve this over a plate of pasta, macaroni or spatzle. Serve with greek yogurt for that creamy texture.
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Apple Crumble Cake

It’s been raining really heavily for the past few weeks, which makes it perfect weather to stuff myself silly with a warm apple crumble cake. If only I had some vanilla ice cream to top it off, that’ll be perfect.

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Ice cream’s good for any weather. Okay maybe not, I remember freezing my butt off in Prague while eating their famous ice cream in a doughnut cone. That was the only time in my life that I regretted buying ice cream. But in Singapore, ice cream is good all day and every day.

Ok today’s post is not on ice cream, anyway, but on this perfect apple crumble cake. When you can’t decide whether you want cake or crumble, you make both. The cake base is a basic cake with the addition of yogurt because yogurt makes everything fluffy and soft. My apples are cut into slices but if you’re a cube person, then cut yours into cubes! The star is definitely the crumble.

I’ve tried making crumble a lot of time and I’ve always been making them wrongly. Because no one ever teaches you how to make proper crumble >: I used the rubbing in method which resulted in sand-like crumbles. Bleah. The best crumbles to me are those huge big bulky blocks of flour-butter-sugar and you make those with your fork. It’s so simple. Just fluff your fork around while you drizzle in the melted butter and you get those glorious crumbles!

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apple crumble cake

Ingredients
for the crumble
1/3 cup dark muscovado brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 (113g) cup salted butter, melted
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour

for the cake
1/2 cup (113g) salted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp all spice
2 eggs
3/4 cup greek yogurt
5 green apples, sliced

Directions
for the crumble
1. Whisk the sugar, ground cinnamon and all-purpose flour together.
2. Pour the melted butter into the dry ingredients while fluffing with a fork to make crumbs.
3. Place crumble in the fridge.

for the cake
1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius
2. Prepare a 9 inch baking springform pan, lined with baking sheet.
3. Using a cake mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
4. At low speed, add in eggs one by one.
5. Add in yogurt.
6. Add in the flour.
7. Fold in sliced apples or alternatively, you could arrange the sliced apples neatly after pouring the batter.
8. Pour batter into the tin.
9. Top with crumble.
10. Bake for 1 hour until skewer comes out clean. Transfer to wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Enjoy!

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